The Candid Eye

November 30, 2009

Holy river Saraswati is finally found in Haryana!!

Come 2010 and Haryana will join the league of states wowing pilgrims from across the country. As the state progresses towards completing the last leg of 3.5km stretch of river Saraswati between Jyotisar and Bibipur, its irrigation department is leaving no stone unturned to complete all formalities related to acquisition of land along its course.

Saraswati river Vedic Civilization : Image courtesy - http://www.hitxp.com

Enquiries revealed that except for working out issues like encroachment around urban areas and problem of sewage discharge into the river, the department has completed digging work in the 68km stretch under the first phase of revival plan for the Saraswati.

Speaking to TOI, the irrigation authorities ruled out the use of river water for purposes other than religious. “The basic idea is to retain its sanctity so that more and more devotees come to visit the holy places along its course. We would not allow the use of this water for irrigation,” minister for irrigation, finance, environment and forests Ajay Singh claimed.

Origin of Saraswati River : Image courtesy - http://www.trekearth.com/

The river is expected to have a discharge of nearly 200 cusecs water along the entire stretch. To turn the riparian spots around it into tourist hubs, the Kuruksehtra Development Board (KDB) has been asked to develop ghats (place for taking holy dip) where there are ancient temples.

“Out of the total 100km stretch in Haryana, 15km passes through Adh Badri, from where the river originates, before the river proceeds towards Unchachandana (Mustafabad). Around 63km stretch between Mustafabad and Jyotisar has been activated, while land for the remaining 3.5km is being acquired,” said the minister. “Once the land is acquired, it will barely take a week for activation. We expect the project to be completed by December 15,” he added.

Sources claimed that the Haryana Urban Development Authority has already developed a Rs 12crore project to put in place a separate drain for sewage discharge of Kurukshetra city, which is currently feeding the river. The PWD is also preparing a project for separate drainage system for various cities along the Saraswati, they said.

Source : TOI

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November 29, 2009

Cost of keeping Kasab alive: Rs 31 crore and counting

Filed under: Congress,India,Jihad,Terrorism — thecandideye @ 6:00 AM
Tags: , , , ,

Courtesy : TOI

Guess how much India is spending on keeping the sole surviving 26/11 Pakistani terrorist alive and healthy in prison? Over Rs 30 crore.Maharashtra govt has so far spent a staggering Rs 31 crore to keep 26/11 attacker Ajmal Kasab safe and secure enough to stand trial.

As India observes the first anniversary of the terror attack on Mumbai, the cash-strapped Democratic Front government in Maharashtra has so far spent a staggering Rs 31 crore, or nearly Rs 8.5 lakh per day, to keep the 21-year-old terrorist from the Pakistani town of Faridkot safe and secure enough to stand trial.

Incidentally, the state is set to wind up its presentation of evidence in the ongoing trial in the special court at Arthur Road jail on Thursday. However, the trial, which began in May, is not likely to finish soon – special public prosecutor Ujwal Nikam reckons it will take another two-three months to come to completion.

 

Ajmal Kasab

“The state’s debt has crossed the Rs 1.85 lakh crore mark. But of course, where security of the state and the country is concerned, we don’t discuss the financial situation,” a senior government official told TOI. Of course, the Rs 31 crore figure is strictly unofficial since the government is wary of letting out any information on Kasab.

On the post-terror attack expenditure, the official said, following the directives of the Centre, besides procuring weapons for emergency use, vehicles and equipment, two special cells were created inside Arthur Road jail and JJ hospital.

“There was a huge expenditure on the construction of a special cell inside the high-security Arthur Road jail. It has been designed in such a manner that even if a truck laden with explosives were to ram into it, the cell would not be dented. Such safeguards are essential to protect Kasab’s life – and to establish Pakistan’s involvement in the attack,” he said.

Besides the special prison cell, another cell was created inside JJ Hospital for Kasab’s treatment.

“We spent nearly Rs 1 crore for the creation of a bullet-proof cell on the JJ Hospital premises. But he was never taken there, instead, doctors were summoned to the Arthur Road jail, whenever Kasab had a health problem,” he said. Incidentally, Kasab, who was wounded before being captured, has been attended to by anywhere between 16-24 doctors for his various ailments in the past year.

The official pointed out that there was also a huge outgo on deployment of central forces to guard the Arthur Road jail and towards payment of fees for the public prosecutor and lawyers appearing for Kasab.

“It’s a costly affair, but we had no option,” he said.

Meanwhile, home minister R R Patil, who was asked to resign, following public anger over police inaction during 26/11, has promised full security to the city on Thursday. “Nothing should happen tomorrow,” Patil, whose reappointment in the new government raised quite a few eyebrows, said on Wednesday. What may have added to his confidence is the fact that an NSG battalion with 258 commandos has already landed in the city from Delhi as a security-boosting measure.

Patil also told TOI that while 15,000 police vacancies had been filled in the last year, another 21,000 posts were still vacant.

November 28, 2009

Global warming effect on Himalayan glaciers!!

An official discussion paper on the status of Himalayan glaciers is coming under fire. The paper, issued recently by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, argued that the glaciers, which nourish several great rivers such as the Indus, Ganges and Brahmaputra, have not retreated abnormally. It also questioned the link between climate change and the glaciers’ decline.

Releasing the paper, the Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests, Mr. Jairam Ramesh, remarked that there was no conclusive evidence to show that global warming was responsible for the glacial retreat.

 

Himalayan Glaciers : Image Courtesy - http://www.nsf.gov

Contradictory views

Such views completely contradict the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Nobel-Prize-winning international body of scientists that weighs up the scientific evidence. Two years back, the IPCC released its comprehensive Fourth Assessment Report on Climate Change.

The report pointed out that glaciers and ice caps provided the most visible indications of the effects of climate change. The Himalayan glaciers were receding faster than in any other part of the world.

If these glaciers continued to recede at the present rate, there was a very high risk of their disappearing by the year 2035, perhaps sooner, if the earth kept warming at the current rate.

Biggest threat

It warned that water scarcity, which could affect more than a billion people, was the most serious threat that Asia faced from climate change.

The Ministry’s riposte has been prepared by V.K. Raina, a retired Deputy Director-General of the Geological Survey of India. In the discussion paper, he agreed that glaciers in the Himalayas, barring a few exceptions, have been in constant retreat since observations started in the mid-Nineteenth Century. Moreover, studies showed all glaciers under observation to have lost mass during the last three decades of the last century.

However, “Himalayan glaciers, although shrinking in volume and constantly showing a retreating front, have not in any way exhibited, especially in recent years, an abnormal annual retreat of the order that some glaciers in Alaska and Greenland are reported [to have shown].” It would be premature to state that these glaciers were retreating abnormally because of global warming.

Glacier movements are primarily due to climate and snowfall. But then Mr. Raina goes on to state that movements of the ’snout’, the visible end of a glacier, “appear to be peculiar to each particular glacier.” The Gangotri glacier, which fed the Ganges River, was practically at a standstill for the last two years.

Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the IPCC, has criticised both the discussion paper and the Minister. He did not understand why the Minister was supporting such unsubstantiated research, he told the Guardian newspaper.

The discussion paper was unscientific and biased, said Syed Iqbal Hasnain, a leading glaciologist who is currently with The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) in New Delhi. It had ignored scientific papers published in peer-reviewed journals after the 1980s when the impact of long-lived greenhouse gases became more visible. These papers clearly showed that warming of the climate was leading to the Himalayan glaciers melting at an exceptionally high rate, he said in an email.

The discussion paper had been sent to him a month back by the Minister’s office for review and he had responded with detailed comments. He had also provided the Minister with all recent papers published by Indians in peer-reviewed journals on the subject. But the paper had been unfortunately been released without any change.

Short-lived pollutants

Himalayan glaciers were not only affected by long-lived greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide but also by short-lived pollutants like black carbon, methane and atmospheric ozone, according to Prof. Hasnain.

In the eastern part of the Himalayas, the excessive melting of glaciers had led to lakes being formed in Nepal, Sikkim and Bhutan, remarked Shresth Tayal, another glaciologist at TERI.

Just recently, the prestigious science journal Nature carried a report on how the mountain kingdom of Bhutan was trying to drain such glacial lakes. Otherwise these lakes might burst their embankment and flood neighbouring areas.

In a paper that appeared in the journal Current Science in 2001, geologists from the HNB Garhwal University in Uttarakhand pointed out that the Gangotri glacier had retreated by two kilometres in the past 200 years. Over 40 per cent of that retreat had occurred in just the last 25 years.

Satellite images

A group led by scientists at the Indian space agency’s Space Applications Centre in Ahmedabad used satellite images to study 466 glaciers in the Chenab, Parbati and Baspa basins.

They found that the glaciers had shrunk by 21 per cent since 1962. The glaciers had also become more fragmented, which was likely to profoundly influence their sustainability, said Anil Kulkarni and others in a 2007 paper.

In recently published research, the space scientists used a model to study how loss of glaciers could affect water flow in a tributary of the Sutlej River.

They estimated that a one degree Celsius rise in temperature by 2040 would more than halve the area occupied by the glaciers that fed the tributary. The runoff in the tributary could therefore come down by between eight per cent and 28 per cent, depending on the season.

Source : The Hindu

November 27, 2009

Indian green lessons for the West

Filed under: Global Warming,India — thecandideye @ 6:00 AM
Tags: , ,

Ahead of next month’s climate change negotiations in Copenhagen there’s a lot of anger in India about the West’s pressure on it to sign up to emissions cuts. The BBC’s Sanjoy Majumder travelled to India’s most industrialised state, Gujarat, to see at first hand some very effective – if homegrown – attempts at tapping renewable energy.

A woman carrying cow dung!

 

In the middle of an open field, a man crouches over some cow dung and uses two pieces of metal to scrape up large amounts of it before deftly depositing it into a pan.

He then transports this to a large biogas plant – essentially made up of three silos sunk into the ground and connected via an intricate maze of pipes to a large collection bin in which the cow dung is collected.

This is where the dung is mixed with water and fermented to create gas, which is then piped to a large temple next door, the Jagganath temple in Ahmedabad, Gujarat’s biggest and most polluted city.

The temple uses the gas to cook food for 1,000 pilgrims every day.

Thick smog

The biogas plant is often showcased by the government of Gujarat to emphasise its commitment to green energy.

“We have been emphasising on renewable energy, we have been emphasising more on solar and wind energy, and we have been taking a number of measures that probably were not thought of also, let alone being taken, in the West, 25, 30, 40 or 50 years ago,” he says emphatically.Rajiv Gupta is a senior official who co-ordinates Gujarat’s headline grabbing climate change initiatives.

“See, ultimately every development, wherever it takes place, has certain costs. Our effort has been to reduce those costs to the bare minimum.”

But despite the drive to create a greener state, temple kitchens powered by cow dung are not the norm in Ahmedabad – it’s a city of chimney stacks and thick smog, where you get the impression that “climate change” is still unknown to most people.

Jagannath-temple-kitchen

But in the city’s schools there’s a definite sense that this may be changing.

Grade seven at the Rachana school could be straight out of a Charles Dickens novel, the girls and boys huddled together inside a grim classroom, lit by a solitary fluorescent bulb with paint peeling off the walls.

But what’s surprising is that the students here are not just being taught maths or physics, they’re being given a lesson on climate change.

‘Colonial nightmares’

“This is actually a national programme and it goes to 200,000 schools,” says Kartikeya Sarabhai, who designed it.

Much of the battle to go green depends on spreading information

One of Gujarat’s most passionate Greens, he’s a bit like an Indian Al Gore. So it’s surprising to learn that he is bitterly opposed to India signing up to emissions cuts at Copenhagen.

“I think that pressure from outside is negative. Having a Western country come and monitor us is taking us back to colonial nightmares. And you must realise that we’ve come out of colonialism and that we are a proud country,” he says.

It’s not just the adults – after class, I discover that even 12-year olds resent the way they are being singled out by the West.

“I think in USA they use more appliances and vehicles than us,” says one boy.

“They use more electricity, they always use their vehicles to travel small distances. We use public services like buses but they don’t use all this,” says a girl.

As dusk approaches, a thick smog settles on Ahmedabad and the green activist Kartikeya Sarabhai drives me into a teeming shanty-town of densely packed tin shacks.

Women dressed in colourful saris hunch over stoves, cooking dinner while half-naked children play on top of a rubbish dump. Looming large behind them are three giant chimneys from a coal-fired power plant, belching thick black smoke into the air.

It’s a perfect illustration of the dilemma that India finds itself in – to improve the lives of its poorest it needs to develop further and in the process build more carbon-emitting thermal plants among others.

But Mr Sarabhai believes that there are other solutions and the answers may well lie in the slums.

“You need to look beyond the squalor and see how efficiently they live their lives,” he says as he takes me on a tour.

Most of the houses, he explains, are built from broken bricks, tiles, stones which have been left over from construction sites.

“They dry their clothes on the roof and in the process cool their homes. They live close to their workplace,” he explains.

“Sometimes poverty offers us the most creative solutions. You don’t have to waste to grow rich.”

It’s a message that India will take to Copenhagen – that the answer to low-carbon growth lies in homegrown solutions.

And rather than being told what to do by the West, they could actually offer the world some expertise of their own.

November 26, 2009

Guru Speaks

When every breath of your body is focussed on creating wealth it takes an infinity to realise the expanse of the breath itself. Journeys across such an abstract expanse need a guide whose spiritual GPS is never offline. But then Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is a man of God like no other. His powerful innovation of Sudarshan Kriya from the ancient system of Pranayam has calmed many a burdened mind.

Guruji Sri Sri Ravishankar

It is hard to combine the commanding heights of spirituality with the mundane lowlands of everyday practical living the way Sri Sri has managed to do. So when a club of extremely wealthy men of practical world needed to understand how to go beyond all the wealth, Sri Sri was the obvious choice.

We seemed to have hit the hot button because questions from men of Mammon flowed freely. To make sure the answers had depth, we picked four questions that seemed to be most fundamental and intricate. But that was till Sri Sri answered them; after that they were blindingly obvious.

Harsh Mariwala
Chairman & MD, Marico Industries

  • We are realising more and more that society has a significant stake and role to play in the growth of every individual and organisation. It then follows that some part of the wealth built by the individual or organisation owes its origin to society. In a steady state scenario, this issue may not be difficult to sort out — one could follow the Islamic Zakat approach and give a fixed percentage to charity or to society. But when it comes to estate planning or leaving behind a legacy through a will, there would arise a question, where your guidance and views will be enlightening. What proportion of a rich person’s wealth should one bequeath to society?”

A: The Dharmashastras advise a man to divide wealth in five portions:

  • One portion is used for spiritual and religious purposes.
  • One portion for charity and society.
  • One portion for the growth of the wealth.
  • One portion for oneself and one’s own comforts.
  • One portion for one’s family.

The most intelligent thing would be to undertake all the charitable works during one’s lifetime itself. However, when you write a will with the wealth that is left to you, definitely give a substantial portion for charitable work.

Venugopal Dhoot
Chairman & MD, Videocon

What is the best contribution one can make to a better society? Make billions, spend billions, or give away billions?

A: The best way is to do both: To make billions, spend a little less, save the rest and give away!
Twenty percent of your earnings should be earmarked for charity. However, charity should be self-sustainable. That is, it should create more wealth rather than perpetuating the cycle of poverty and dependence. In this sense, the best form of charity would be providing quality education for children and more importantly, building a good character in them.

In the 11th chapter of the Bhagawad Gita, Lord Krishna said, “Win the war with enemies and enjoy a prosperous empire.” How can a businessman be altruistic and yet follow this piece of advice? Is there a way to resolve this riddle?

Krishna’s advice was not for a recluse, but addressed to a prince. The Gita should not be dismissed as a text for people who are not in the world. In fact, the Gita is of no use for people who are retiring from the world. The entire Bhagavad Gita is focused on the prince who had to shoulder a huge responsibility, encounter complex situations and solve complicated human relations to make the country productive. Any business empire has to perform all these functions: They have to manage human resources; resolve conflicts.

One cannot be emotional and say: “I don’t want to compete with anybody. The world of business is always a struggle — a fight. Your weapons are speculation, bidding, negotiation, branding, marketing, pricing, innovation etc. These are the weapons for you to fight the business wars and you should fight it to your complete satisfaction. If it does not turn out to be viable, naturally you lose your fight. (Non-viability, heavy competition, lack of HR, labour problems)

You can’t do business with a charitable mindset. Charity and business should be kept separate altogether. However when it comes to enjoying the fruits of your business, you should have a charitable mind. You must keep aside a portion for charity.

Analjit Singh
Chairman & MD, Max India

If one has faith and believes God exists, how important is it to pray, meditate, etc.?

A: Prayer is asking God what you want for yourself or thanking Him for what you have received. Meditation is listening to God’s will. If you believe in God, then you will definitely want to connect and communicate with Him. The way to communicate with Him is through prayer
and meditation.

Rakesh Jhunjhunwala
Partner, RaRe Enterprises

“My principles in life are as follows:

  • All spirituality lies in our deeds and empathy towards others.
  • All deeds should be with practical integrity and means should be more important than the ends.
  • More than anything else in life, I work for a sense of achievement, which I judge and am not bothered about what others think.
  • I have far lesser wealth than people think, but far more than I need. Wealth also has a purpose in life.
  • I realise that all things in life including wealth, success and beauty are transient and temporary. Therefore I never take them for granted, nor am I overwhelmed or over-influenced by them.
  • The divine is the giver of all wealth, and along with the wealth, has cast upon us a responsibility that as far as possible must be used for a good purpose.

I would seek your divine views and thoughts on my beliefs and principles of life.

A: What you have mentioned are some moral and ethical values. Spirituality is recognising that you are a part of the universal spirit and that there is no ‘Other’. Spirituality is recognising the truth that a Divine Power is managing the creation and your own life. No doubt integrity, charity, compassion etc. are all virtues which are essential by-products of spirituality. How calm and dynamic you are at the same time, how compassionate and shrewd you are at the same time indicates the depths of your spirituality.

November 25, 2009

‘60 years after, our borders aren’t safe’

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Sarsanghachalak Mohan Bhagwat on Sunday said that India was unable to make its borders safe even after 60 years of Independence due to constant meddling of its neighbours– Pakistan, China and Bangladesh.

Addressing a public rally here on his first visit to the state after taking over the reins of the RSS, Bhagwat said India had been extending a hand of friendship with these countries, but they were trying everything to destabilise India. As a result, the security of the country has remained a major issue, he added.

On the internal front also, there was no peace.The growing menace of Naxalism, separatist movements have caused serious problems within.

Mohan Bhagwat,the RSS chief

Vote bank politics coupled with large-scale corruption, and money and muscle power, are hurting the country more, he said. “The lack of national pride is the root cause for this problem.” Indirectly referring to Maharashtra Navanirmana Samiti’s opposition to taking oath in Hindi in Maharashtra Assembly, Bhagwat said: “We have reached a stage where we don’t find anything wrong in taking oath in English but protest if somebody takes oath in national language.’’ “Locals get hurt when people from other places grab their employment opportunities. But it should not be the reason to destroy the national unity. Nothing is more important than the country’s unity,” he added.

Calling upon the Hindus to stay united, Bhagwat, stressed the need for the Hindu community to be more organised as it was necessary for the country and the world to be peaceful. “Wherever Hindus have reduced to minority, that country has suffered problems. Because Hinduism is the way of life which not only preaches national pride but also aspires for a society with good human qualities,” he added. Stating that the RSS was not against any community, Bhagwat called upon people to join it to know it better.

CM Yeddyurappa, Ministers Eshwarappa, Janardhan Reddy, Suresh Kumar, Murugesh Nirani, Shivanagouda Naik and BJP national general secretary H N Ananthkumar were present.

Visit not linked to rift in BJP’

Stating that the RSS does not interfere in BJP’s affairs, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat on Sunday categorically denied reports which said that he had asked the state BJP leaders to mend their ways in the backdrop of recent dissident activities.

“I need not have to tour the country to teach anybody any lesson.

Only those who do not know about the RSS can draw such inferences,’’ Bhagawat said at the public meeting.

“My tour was planned by the RSS working committee immediately after I took over as the RSS chief and it is the practice in RSS that whoever takes over as its chief will tour all states to meet and interact with the people,’’ he said.

BSY gets praise for Tiruvalluvar statue

Bhagwat heaped praises on Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa for his initiative to end the decades-old rivalry between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu over installing Tamil poet Tiruvalluvar’s statue in Bangalore.

“I think this is the first such step in Independent India that two states came forward to settle the decadesold problem by mutual agreement,” the Sarsanghachalak said.

November 24, 2009

Arrogant Congress, absent Opposition

There are three striking features about anniversaries. The first is their sheer arbitrariness — what, for example, is so significant about the 100 days we so love to observe? The second, and this applies mainly to societies (not India) which have a marked sense of history, is their commercial potential. The 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall proved very lucrative for publishers, just as ‘royal’ occasions in Britain are a good time for the producers of memorabilia. Finally, the decision which anniversary to observe and which to ignore is dictated by expediency and politics.

Corrupt Indian Politicians

This week India will be commemorating the first anniversary of the jihadi attack on Mumbai on November 26 last year. If initial trends are any indication, it is likely to become another occasion for media-sponsored indignation by celebrities — the spurious enough-is-enough syndrome until the fire next time. It will also be the occasion for some mindless repetition of meaningless homilies such as the mantra that “terrorists have no religion”. That their astonishing conviction stems from theology is something we can’t discuss in polite company. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, quite fortuitously, will not be there to share the popular grief over independent India’s most astounding show of ineptitude. He will be busy telling those Americans who care to listen that India harbours no ill will towards those who are determined to set our house on fire.

Despite the odd outbursts of anger at those responsible for the monumental cock-ups in Mumbai, the anniversary of 26/11 is good news for the Government. Since it is just not done to inject partisan politics into the proceedings, India will use the occasion to demonstrate its amazing resilience, the proverbial stiff upper lip we didn’t even know we had. Politically speaking, Hindu fatalism and the cheapness of human life are the best guarantees of a pernicious culture of non-accountability.

This week, however, marks another anniversary. Exactly six months ago, on May 22, Manmohan Singh was sworn in Prime Minister for a second time. It was an occasion that was greeted by most Indians with a sigh of great relief: Not because the electorate was star struck by the first innings of the UPA but because it spared India a bout of instability and Madhu Koda-type governance at the Centre. The UPA-2 assumed office with everything going for it: Continuity at the top, enhanced self-confidence of the Gandhis, a stronger Congress and weakened coalition partners and, above all, an Opposition in total disarray. The UPA-1 was a post-election construction and was prey to conflicting political pressures and blackmail. There were no mitigating factors holding back UPA-2.

Six months is too short a time to judge a Government’s performance but it is sufficient to assess the broad direction in which it is heading. It allows us to take a call on where India will find itself at the time of the 2014 poll. Sadly, the broad conclusions don’t inspire great confidence in the future of a country that believes it is a world power and doesn’t behave like one.

To begin with, there are unmistakable signs of the Government pulling in different directions and Cabinet Ministers doing their own thing. The sugar kerfuffle which led to Delhi being overrun by angry farmers was a classic example of the left hand not knowing what the right hand was up to. The contentious Ordinance was blamed on Sharad Pawar’s proximity to an organised lobby. That was always well known. Why did the Cabinet not apply its mind to the Ordinance in the first place?

Cabinet Ministers, it would seem, love doing their own thing. Mamata Banerjee has chosen to use the Railways as a parallel administration for West Bengal. Her priorities are building sports stadiums, shoring up bankrupt Bengali newspapers, giving lectures to Bengali IAS officers and even indulging Maoists; trains comes low down on her dhobi list.

Black-money-and-Corruption

Mamata, it may be said, is not under the political control of the Congress. Moreover, she has to be indulged for her undeniable success in breaching the hitherto impregnable Red bastion in West Bengal. But that rule doesn’t apply for Jairam Ramesh who appears to have put self-glory ahead of everything else. It would interest the PM to know that officials are mortified over what Ramesh may concede inside the ‘green room’ at the climate change conference in Copenhagen next month. His perception of national interests seems at odds with the national consensus.

Giving Ministers autonomy is a good thing but the Cabinet seems to be operating like a confederacy. There are pro-China Ministers, pro-America Ministers, and pro-highest bidder Ministers doing their own thing. The External Affairs Minister, on his part, is emerging as the Shivraj Patil of the UPA-2 Government. The impending Commonwealth Games fiasco epitomises the crisis triggered by a lack of direction. No wonder the Finance Minister despairs of the alarming state of public finances — the austerity drive having been quietly punctured by angry politicians. As for reforms: What reforms?

What is particularly alarming is that the collapse of the Opposition has injected into the Congress an astonishing degree of arrogance. Thus, convicted killer Manu Sharma is let out by an unfazed Delhi administration to drink in pubs and campaign for his father; Madhu Koda is handled with kid gloves because of a fear that he may talk; the scandals of A Raja are left to the media to unearth because officials can’t displease the DMK; and, as for the soaring price of food, no one is responsible.

It would have been a good time to be in the Opposition. Except that the Opposition is busy either spinning yarns or imagining that the future lies in gau, gram and, presumably, gobar. India has got the Government (and Opposition) it deserves.

Source : The Pioneer

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